LIMA — A Delphos man admitted to killing his wife when he entered a guilty plea Thursday that allows him to avoid a possible death sentence.
Patrick Coller, 43, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder with a firearm and kidnapping with a firearm. Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Destiny Caldwell agreed to drop the remaining charges that elevated the potential penalty to a death sentence.
Coller will face up to life in prison for the aggravated murder charge. He faces up to 11 years for the kidnapping and three years on each firearm specifications. Judge David Cheney scheduled sentencing for March 26 and ordered a background check on Coller.
It’s very well possible Coller will spend the rest of his life in prison. The earliest he would be eligible for parole on the aggravated murder charge, alone, if the judge does not give him life without parole, would be after 20 years. Adding on a mandatory three-year sentence for each firearm charge and a term for the kidnapping will put him in prison for many years.
At sentencing, Coller will have a chance to make a statement and his attorney is expected to argue for the minimum sentence within the guidelines. Caldwell said the prosecution would make an argument and the victim’s family plans on attending the hearing and possibly will make a statement.
Coller killed his 42-year-old wife, Gerri L. Coller, on Aug. 14. Her body was found in a cornfield off Jones Road. Investigators said they believed he used a shotgun to kill her.
Patrick Coller went to the Delphos Police Department following the shooting and told officers he shot his wife earlier in the day, investigators said. Police went with Coller to the field where he said he killed his wife. They found her dead with an apparent gunshot wound.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Office joined Delphos police at the scene and took Coller to the Allen County Jail, where they questioned him.